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Smell-O-Vision – should games have it?

It’s a been a busy Thursday here at Play, so today’s blog will be a short one, based on a conversation I had with a colleague on the way to work. We were discussing the senses we use during Play – sight, sound, and to some extent touch. But what if we could also smell our games? I’m not talking about the delicious scent that emanates from a newly opened game manual, I’m talking about smelling gameplay.

Forget 3D. Could smell be the real technical evolution of the medium? Imagine playing Flower, a beautiful bouquet of fragrances filling your nostrils along with the fresh, clean aroma of slightly perfumed air. Or how about playing Oblivion, taking in the salty smell of the sea being blown in from the shore, blended with the colourful essences of summer dappled around the environment. Or what about playing Rez? And smelling…ummm…whatever the hell that smells like.

But then I thought some more, and I realised, NO. What if I were playing God Of War III and I caught a whiff of the odor emanating from below Kratos’s smelly, sweaty pits? What if, while creeping through the cramped interiors of Dead Space, the pungent aroma of disfigured, infected corpses filled by nostrils? What if I smelt the manure lining the streets of Assassin’s Creed Renaissance Rome? What if I was playing LittleBigPlanet and I found out Sackboy actually has a really, really bad BO problem?

There are some things I just don’t need to smell. Many of these things can be found in games. So I say no. Games do not need, and definitely shoud not get Smell-O-Vision. The real world smells bad enough as it is.

So there you have it, kids. Play gets right to the heart of the real, hard-hitting issues facing videogames today. Next week: should games allow us to taste our gameplay? We’ll be eating various items during play to discover the real answer.

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